Lore: Water Harp Journal

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The construction stands at an endless mid-point. O! This job, this endless job done at the behest of the High Vaunnts! To think we once thought it an honor! If this quagmire is the wage of the honored then I wish that I had remained only the second—or better yet perhaps the fourth or fifth best luthier among the Pan.

I fear my cohorts will drive me mad. The Architect is a fine Pan. He keeps to his figures and he keeps away from mine. Best of all, he speaks only when called by the task.

…but this so-called “Maestro”! He speaks in such riddles! One ear on you, and one on Eafir’s Song, or so he claims. (Funny, I’ve spent my whole life among songsters and bards and the only ones who claim to hear the World Song are the mad ones.) Wherever his ears are tuned, his mouth stays on the move. Truly, his voice is only at rest when you finally have need of a direct answer!

And the Vaunnts are—

The Vaunnts are scarcely better. Their mumblings of piety, and duty to balance, and whatever else when all I really need to know is how soon the large drum will be prepared that I might do my part.

I know I should be patient. I know that this music box we build (or is it a building that we fill with music?), it is for a greater good. The Beast, this “Ravager,” the workers call it. I gather it has had its feast of soldiers. It is starting in on the villages. I know it must be stopped. I know this tune of the Vaunnts is thought to do the job.

In order to soothe the creature, this harp we build must be made to play that which the Infernal Maestro refers to as the Beast’s Song.

They tell me we will go down in history. I care not. They tell me lives will be saved. I...I cannot pretend this does not move me. But I swear if these old Pan keep at their arguments, the life that needs saving will be mine. Or theirs. Because I may yet break my lute over their heads.

It works!

The final construction was completed a half-moon gone. We were stuck in cycles of endless tuning, load adjustment, tuning, stream pressure, tuning! It seemed it would never end, even up to last night!

We had just supped, and many among our company were as yet dragging the crusts of bread about the border of the bowl.

As the Maestro did discourse (endlessly as always), I began to doze. All at once, a terrible sound rose from the wilderness. A howling.

It was a beast, the Beast, this very “Ravager!

Nothing in the stories can prepare you for it. For one thing, the size! Completely out of keeping with the legend! And the teeth—!

The creature fell upon our guard, and I am unashamed to say I did not linger to ascertain their fate. I ran! We all ran!

I do not know what possessed me to head for the Great Harp. I acted on instinct, as they claim one does in times of great stress.

To my horror, the Beast eschewed all other courses and pursued me! Born aloft by this instinct, or perhaps by fate itself, I found myself before the mechanism! It was still primed from the tuning.

I pulled the lever!

The Beast’s Song rang out pure and true. It was just as the old buggers promised. The Beast fell dead asleep. We saved—if not all, well—we saved most.

I would have thought this would be an opportunity to open the Beast’s throat, but the Vaunnts forbid it. Something about the Balance in the forest, and the footsteps of the Doe. A moon ago I might have scoffed, but then again, these Vaunnts have a knack for truth telling. My uneaten body is testament. Let them solve the “what next” on their own.